A Tropical Meal in New York: Fennel and Mango Shrimp

The River Café, a restaurant I would absolutely be smitten to death to go to. While a restaurant should be all about the food, sometimes a great location is something to admire. How romantic would it be to sit and just stare at the beautiful view of New York City? I was recently at a friend’s apartment in the city and I felt like a first grader looking out of the windows staring at the landscape. The dark space was speckled with square windows of light. It was beautiful being up there looking out. Eating a beautiful dinner while seeing such a view, well that would just be a plus.

Located on Brooklyn’s edge the restaurant has brought life to the area. It opened in 1977 when the property nearby was not in high demand. Since then Brooklyn has grown to be a hotspot of its own for food. I was born in Brooklyn but moved out of the city soon after. I hope one day to return and visit places that I have heard about some older than I am, some that have sprung up since my departure.

The dish I have found inspiration from is the Wild Rock Lobster. On the menu it is described as two roasted tails with mango, lemon and olive oil.  I tried to keep some of those flavors there but add more accessibility to it. While lobster is delicious and I would order this dish in a second if I went to the restaurant I decided to give shrimp the royal treatment. While many people find shrimp a protein they wish to avoid I find myself craving it from time to time. I feel healthy after eating a plate of shrimp. It is light and takes easily to flavor. The cooking time is quick from skillet to my plate. Here the shrimp is marinated in fresh fennel fronds, lemon, garlic and olive oil. To go with the shrimp I made an easy roasted fennel and mango salsa. The essence of the original dish is here but I felt as though the fennel would add some depth that is easily achieved with rich lobster.

I found myself quickly eating a plate of this, as did my family. The salsa is so simple allowing a chance for mango to shine. Mango and shrimp are just made for each other. The shrimp takes on the flavor of the delicate marinade willingly and after a quick sauté it is ready for hungry eaters to enjoy all it has to offer. As always please do not feel the need to follow each and every step exactly. Savory cooking is a game of give and take that I enjoy toying with. I did not base my dish entirely off of a recipe; it was just something anyone can throw together. Why are you waiting? Toss it together and enjoy!

Grilled Fennel and Lemon Shrimp on top of Roasted Fennel and Mango Salsa

For the shrimp:

  •     1 1/2 pounds large unpeeled shrimp
  •     Juice from 3/4 of a lemon
  •     1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •     2 garlic cloves, crushed
  •     1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, loosely chopped
  •     1/4 cup fennel fronds, finely chopped
  •     1 tablespoon butter

For the salsa:

  •     One mango, diced
  •     Half of a fennel bulb, diced
  •     Juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  •     2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

1. Peel and devein the shrimp into a bowl.

2. In the bowl mix the lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, basil and fennel fronds into the shrimp. Allow to marinate for half an hour or so.

3. Meanwhile on medium heat, place the diced fennel bulb in a small sauté pan with some olive oil. Cook until the fennel is golden and cooked down, about ten minutes.

4. Combine the fennel bulb with the diced mango and basil. Squeeze the lemon juice on top to finish.

5. Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat with some olive oil. When the pan gives off a moderate amount of heat place the shrimp in the pan. Stir around using a pair of tongs until all of the shrimp are pink in color. This should be pretty quick. When the shrimp is mostly pink add the tablespoon of

butter. Cook onto the butter melts. If you want some added heat, add some red pepper flakes before taking off the heat.

6. To assemble, place a couple of shrimp on top of the fennel and mango salsa.


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